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Super Bowl ratings don't break records but 3.5-plus million in Atlanta watch the Falcons lose

This was posted Monday, February 6, 2017 by Rodney Ho on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

An average of more than 3.5 million metro Atlantans watched the Atlanta Falcons lose in shocking fashion last night to the New England Patriots on Fox 5. That's a lot of mass pain to get over.

Viewership was up from the 2.8 million who watched the Falcons win the NFC Championship two weeks ago.

About 57 percent of all TVs and 82 percent of those that were on were tuned into the game. Ratings peaked during overtime at 62 percent of all TVs and a whopping 88 percent of metro Atlanta TVs turned on. That equals almost 3.9 million metro Atlantans.

Metro Atlanta drew a bigger audience than Boston on a percentage basis. In Boston, 54.3 percent of TVs watched their team win.

The ratings were comparable to the last time the Falcons were in the Super Bowl in 1999 when 58.2 percent of all TVs and 79 percent of those on had the game on. Fox aired the game that year as well when the Falcons lost to the Denver Broncos. But the total audience is far larger since the population of Atlanta has grown from about 4 million to more than 5.7 million over 18 years.

Note: Nielsen only measures standard household viewership. It does not track viewership in bars and restaurants across town and given how many people watch the Super Bowl at big house parties, Nielsen may understate those ratings as well.

Nationally, this Super Bowl drew the second most ever at 111.9 million people, plus 1.7 million watching the game streaming and another 650,000 on Fox Deportes.

Going broader, 172 million caught at least five minutes of the game over the entire time, Fox noted. That is a record high, at least.

The most popular Super Bowl remains the previous Patriots victory in 2015, at 114.4 million viewers, plus 1.4 million streaming.

The game was looking to be a runaway for the Falcons until the Patriots made an improbably comeback, scoring the game's final 31 points and sending the Super Bowl into its first overtime game in its 51-year history.

NFL ratings were down this year so executives have to be happy that the Super Bowl ended on a high note - at least in terms of popularity


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About the Author

Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.